Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why Is There No

This month the comforting voice of Barack Obama is plugging a new government website in a series of public service announcements. Listeners are urged to visit, which describes itself as a "National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse." I must say that looking at this website, I find myself irritated with more than the strange use of a noun as a modifier, as though fatherhood is something that could be stacked up efficiently and inventoried. (Even those who teach written composition love the clearinghouse trope, so I should probably just give up on that fight.)

Instead I'll start with the fact that there is no and the weird assumption that the government should be invested with patriarchal authority. Of course, it isn't the only asymmetrical government website. There is a but no corresponding There is a as well, which is similarly unmated.

I also have to note the frequency of the word "important" on the site, which appears over fifty times on a relatively small number of web pages. Fathers are asked "Are you important?" Obama describes it as "the most important job." It is as though the message of patriarchy needs to be marked "important" in an e-mail or memo.

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Blogger Jardinero1 said...

It's a really nice and complete site. All the links take you to something worthwhile, most commonly "Coming Soon! Please check back later." Perhaps that's a reference to the last thing fatherless households hear from departing dads. The activity of the week: "Read with your child" seemed really inspired and original.

8:49 AM  

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